Statement of Purpose Describe the epidemiology of injuries in high school (HS) girls’ and collegiate women’s soccer (2014/15–2018/19), and examine self-reported health status in former women’s soccer athletes.
Methods/Approach We analyzed data collected within the NATION Surveillance Program (HS), the NCAA Injury Surveillance Program, and a general health survey of former women’s collegiate soccer athletes. We report rates per 10,000 athlete exposures (AEs) and summary statistics [frequencies (%)] to characterize injury-related patterns from surveillance data. Former women’s soccer athletes (n=124, û(age)=43±12 years) self-reported medical history and health status by responding to an online questionnaire which also included the four-item PROMIS-29 v2.0 subscales of physical functioning and pain interference (T-Score transformations were used for population comparisons). Prevalence estimates and summary statistics (means±SDs) characterized participant responses. Wilcoxon rank sum tests assessed differential physical functioning and pain interference by injury history.
Results Ankle (HS: 21.2%; NCAA:14.8%), knee (HS:16.5%; NCAA:16.7%), and head/face (HS:15.9%; NCAA:12.1%) injuries were most common in HS girls’ and NCAA women’s soccer; ankle sprain (Rate(HS):6.8/10,000AEs; Rate(NCAA):7.4/10,000AEs) was the most common injury in both groups. Former women’s soccer athletes also most prevalently reported lifetime histories of ankle (58.9%) and knee (54.0%) injuries, and lifetime physician diagnoses of anxiety (16.9%), depression (16.9%), and osteoarthritis (16.1%; most commonly knee). Physical functioning (û(T-score)=52.4±7.4) and pain interference (û(T-score) =49.1±8.2) were comparable to population norms overall, though differed based on lifetime histories of knee (p<0.01) and ankle (p<0.01) injuries.
Conclusions Findings indicate that prevention efforts among current athletes may target ankle and knee injuries. Further, long-term functioning associated with musculoskeletal injury history, and mental health concerns among former athletes warrant further attention.
Significance Our findings highlight the need to investigate injury incidence among current athletes, and potential post-career physical and mental health impacts resulting from in-career sport-related injuries.
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